Digital Transformation of the Modern Corporation

digital transformation

Big Marketing Industry Problem #3: How San Diego leaders are addressing the issue

The third problem identified by the AMA in its first-ever intellectual agenda, the “Seven Big Problems in the Marketing Industry,” is “The Digital Transformation of the Modern Corporation.” When marketing lags in the area of digital transformation, organizations become less relevant to customers, less profitable, and less competitive.

Organizations are desperately trying to keep up with the digital revolution that is not only changing the tools used for marketing but is transforming business in terms of structures, processes, workflow and decision making.

While marketing tends to focus on the transformation of marketing communications, social media, and big data, the c-suite is focused on larger issues such as survival, change, and the competitive environment. Companies are evolving to have a focus on information and services rather than products. And what was formerly one-way communication is now two-way with customers taking control.

In this article in our Big Marketing Industry Problem Series, the viewpoints of marketing leaders articulated during the first annual AMA San Diego 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective around the third big problem are outlined. The 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective will be available for download in late August 2017.


Marketing leaders outlined four pivotal practices they use to stay ahead of the curve in digital transformation.

Shift from Product Marketing to Information Marketing

Organizations are focusing less on the products they sell and more on the services associated with their products. Campaigns focus less on the technical specifications of the product and trying to attract consumers with rational benefits. Instead, they focus on the emotional benefits associated with how the company and their products will improve customers’ lives as well as the environment and communities in which customers live.

In the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective, the Life Sciences industry reported how their products have changed peoples’ lives and the Food & Beverage industry points to organic, ethically sourced products. This is an indication that companies are communicating with consumers about topics customers truly care about and therefore building stronger relationships and brand loyalty.

Even B2B companies that have little to no connection with the end consumers, but instead work with intermediary firms, are realizing that they are still dealing with people on the other side of their transactions. Many B2B companies that thought they did not have an audience are starting to produce content for the first time to build stronger relationships with their end users and other interested parties.

Automation and Digitization Are Changing Structures, Processes and Workflows

Automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are closing the loop in email communication, retargeting, promotions, and predicting what consumers will need next. Automation is making it easier to have continuous communication by tracking what is working in real time and making immediate adjustments, rather than waiting for reports at the end of the cycle. This process is creating a more personalized experience for the customer as companies have more tools available to understand customer needs.

Executive dashboards are now available to instantly see the effects of decisions. This allows marketers to make more accurate and timely data-driven decisions that are easily justifiable to the c-suite and Board of Directors.

The increased use of automation and digitization does not necessarily mean that companies are letting go of traditional practices. Many marketers in the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective have emphasized the value of digital and traditional integration. Combining email marketing or a geofencing campaign with a live, tangible and personal event can be very effective in building brand awareness.

Interaction, Engagement and Shared Content

The AMA points out that organizations are losing control of their content to customers. As companies reap the benefit of free communication and interaction through social media platforms, they also face the consequence of customers being co-editors of content.

Many, especially large corporations, are looking at this as an opportunity to become more approachable by allowing a safe space for person-to-person (P2P) conversations to take place. In the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective, marketing leaders in the Health & Wellness industry described having dedicated teams monitoring social media and responding to any concerns patients have while also posting the latest updates on medical or related news.

The importance of being responsive on social media is emphasized in the Sports & Recreation industry where temporary staff is employed during events to handle the high traffic on social media requests. There is a rise in “company ambassadors” which are customers who act as company advocates on social media and answer other customers’ questions.

Companies are changing their approach from one-way communication to a more inclusive method. Customers are being included more in the decision-making process which helps organizations verify that they are moving in the right direction.

Social Media Used as a Promo Tool as Well as a Data and Analytics Tool

Social media is increasingly used as an indication of the brand’s performance. By tracking customers’ positive and negative comments, the number of likes compared to competition, and the level of engagement with the brand, companies are able to benchmark themselves within the industry.

Across the board, marketing leaders are using social media at different levels of sophistication. Many of the companies in the study have emphasized the importance of finding the most suitable platform for their industry. Some also mentioned the importance of focusing on the most valuable platforms and not getting distracted by the constantly changing popularity of different platforms.


It is evident that the issue of digitization is affecting all industries without exception. The 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective suggests that each industry is dealing with it using appropriate tactics for their customer base at various levels of sophistication. The level of digital transformation a company goes through does not appear to be based on company size or available budget.


In late August 2017 AMA San Diego will be making the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective available to the marketing community. The study includes inspirational marketing strategy and tactics, trends in marketing, and rich insights from 38 marketing leaders representing 32 San Diego organizations. Q2 Insights is publishing a series of eight articles on the “Seven Big Problems in the Marketing Series” in response to the AMA’s Intellectual Agenda as well as the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective.

Q2 Insights, Inc. in partnership with FreshForm Interactive, Inc., designed, implemented and reported on the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective.

Marketing is changing. The mindset of your customer is changing. The most successful companies understand and embrace change.

Today’s marketing leader must be more agile, data-focused, and customer-obsessed than ever before. We spoke to CMOs, VPs, and Director-level marketers from a variety of B2B and B2C businesses to learn how this shift in marketing is impacting San Diego.

Our 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective is available now at no cost!



About Stephanos

Stephanos Trokoudes is a Research Analyst at Q2 Insights, Inc. a research and innovation consulting firm with offices in San Diego and New Orleans. He can be reached at (760) 230-2950 ext. 5 or